When your child has complex medical needs, it’s difficult to always know how to keep them safe while also empowering them to live a normal and productive life. Perhaps your pediatrician has recommended hiring a pediatric home health or private duty nurse. But, what do private duty nurses do, and how does their care benefit children with special needs and their families? There are a lot of misconceptions about pediatric home health, but understanding the benefits of this level of care often helps to clear them up. Let’s examine five of those benefits and learn what a pediatric private duty nurse can do for your family. 

Optimize Quality of Life 

If your pediatrician has recommended pediatric private duty nursing, it’s more than likely because your child has a complex medical condition and will need prolonged medical care. Your private duty nurse will offer the kind of support that ensures your child’s medical needs are met while improving their quality of life. Because your child will have assistance in managing medications, equipment and personal care, they’ll feel more confident maintaining a higher level of independence, going to school, playing with friends and interacting with your family. Basically, they’ll feel empowered to live life like a child should. 

Children with complex medical needs often spend a lot of time in the doctor’s offices, which is hardly an ideal situation for a young child. However, with private duty nursing, many of the treatments that your child needs can be taken care of in the comfort and privacy of home with your nurse’s assistance. This means less time is spent planning medical appointments and less trips are made to medical facilities. Your child can spend more time enjoying life and less time focusing on their medical condition thanks to this individualized care. 

Personalized Care Planning 

Your child is an individual, and their needs will change as they grow or their health condition stabilizes, improves or declines. To ensure that your experience is a positive and beneficial one, pediatric private duty nurses work with your family and your medical provider to create a personalized plan of care. This plan is built around your child’s challenges and goals, your family’s needs and your pediatrician’s recommendations for care. As your child’s needs change or they meet health milestones, the plan is evaluated and updated to ensure that we always provide the most beneficial care experience. 

Depending on your child’s needs, a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) with extensive pediatric experience will meet your child’s skilled care needs at home. Examples of skilled needs that might be included in the plan of care are: 

  • Support with ventilators, C-pap or BiPap machines
  • Gastrostomy Care
  • Apnea Monitoring
  • IV Therapy
  • Wound Care
  • Monitoring Vitals and Assessing for Stabilization, Progress or Setbacks 

This list is not all inclusive, as the specifics of care can only be outlined after your child is assessed and your nurse case manager has the opportunity to speak with you, connect with your pediatrician and better understand your family’s unique situation. 

Reduce the Need for Hospitalizations 

When your child is in and out of the hospital as you work to stabilize their medical condition, it can turn your family’s life upside down. They might spend days or weeks away from the people and things they love the most. If the hospital is several miles away from home, it also means parents must take time off of work, drive back and forth, perhaps stay the night and incur additional costs for travel, lodging and meals. The emotional and financial costs can be staggering.

Many medical conditions can remain stabilized at home with private duty nursing services in place. This means less visits to the hospital and less time away from family, friends, school and other activities. If your child does have an episode that requires a higher level of medical care, your nurse can often notice symptoms early, communicate the concern with your pediatrician, monitor vitals and provide the emergency medical team with valuable information that can help make treatment faster and more effective too. 

Advocate for a Child with Complex Medical Needs 

A primary goal of our pediatric private duty nurses is to work with families and promote the best opportunity for enhanced outcomes for the children we serve. Advocacy is an important part of this effort. This might include sharing information that can help your child’s school develop the right educational plan. Our nurses also ensure that communication with your pediatrician is clear and concise. At times, it’s appropriate to contact community partners and medical suppliers to help your child get the support, services and equipment they need. Pediatric private duty nurses use their exceptional communication skills and work alongside you to promptly identify care gaps and facilitate beneficial changes. Their professional expertise helps you, as a parent, to feel calm, confident and supported as you navigate unfamiliar territories. Together, we work to find the right path toward ensuring your child is provided with every opportunity for normalcy and success. 

Benefits for the Entire Family 

In understanding how pediatric private duty nursing works, it’s important to consider the benefits this service offers your entire family. Parents spend significantly less time driving to and from doctor’s appointments or the hospital as many treatments and certain labs can be taken care of at home. Your nurse also provides training and support, empowering you to feel confident managing your child’s medical condition. If you have a job outside of the home, it’s easier to leave for work knowing that a professional is available and providing care. This also offers a significant benefit to your family’s budget and helps prevent your financial future from falling into turmoil. 

Siblings appreciate the support of a private duty nurse too. These professionals make it possible for their parents to spend a more equal amount of time focusing on their needs and for the entire family to spend more time in the comfort of home. Children also experience less fear and uncertainty when they know that their sibling is properly cared for, their complex medical condition is stable and they are enjoying a higher quality of life. This makes bonding easier, and it can help to improve the overall family dynamic.  

With time, your family will inevitably develop a special bond with your child’s nurse. This is something that families typically view as a unique treasure. A private duty nurse will never replace your role as a parent, but they will provide extra support and a trusted adult for your child to bond with. The connections made can even last a lifetime. 

Conclusion: 

Pediatric private duty nursing is an excellent option for children faced with a serious medical condition. It can truly help your child to remain safer and enjoy a higher quality of life in the comfort of home. Your nurse will provide a helping hand, essential medical care and companionship. This benefits you, your child and your family and helps you to feel more confident and empowered as you help your child to live their best life. 

Salus Homecare of Utah provides accredited private duty nursing services for our pediatric patients. If you’re interested in exploring this or other pediatric home health services, contact us. Let’s work together to find the option that’s best for your family.